We arrived at the start just in time to watch everyone leaving! After signing on we finally set off at gone 8.30am. Three of us are doing the 60 miles and the rest of the club are riding the 25 miler. The three of us doing the 60 set off just ahead, that's Tim, Paul and myself.
Settling into the ride is pretty easy, it's nippy but the wind is non existent so we can press on without working the legs. Both Tim and myself are racing two days later so we have to keep it in the pants all day.
The route is unknown to us, but we predict hills. I don't know Pete who has organized this ride all that well, but I do know he is old skool and isn't going to ponce about with main roads - that suits me just fine.
Actually I saw Pete sweeping up near Eggington and nearly missed my marker!
So as predicted we set off for the Brickhills. First up was an easy warm up on the Three Locks climb (you missed a classic up Braggenham Lane Pete) Once over the top it's a fast section to Aspley Woods with a long trudge up to the start of the Bow Brickhill climb. It's a bugger of a climb, but I once raced up it on a fixed wheel during a club hill climb so any gears make it easier in my mind.
The next section covers some of my favorite local riding through Aspley Woods and Stockgrove Park, narrow twisty forest lined lanes. It's at Stockgrove that we meet Toni and Rob. Toni is on her first organized ride and looked comfortable, Rob looked freezing.
Next up was 'Paris Roubaix Hill' It's on this climb that Paul takes off leaving Tim and myself to knock out some easy miles with tailwind assistance. It's on this section after PR Hill that we drop all the riders that had been tailing us, and in the distance I can see Paul turn back to Eggington.
It gives us time to reflect on the fact that this is about the longest two team jerseys have ever rode together without a gap?
Back to the ride. somehow we catch Paul who in turn has caught two 'Team Sky' riders on full blown TT machines.But as we near they notice and hunker down into their Tri Bars and pull away. Yeah I'd be pissed if two old boys on training bikes had caught me riding hardware like that.
Next we meander through the villages, past the 25 cut off and to the start of Bison Hill. Rather disappointingly Bison Hill was pretty easy today, probably due to keeping the pace steady. From here we go through Studham and descend Pedley Hill. At the bottom of Pedley Hill we catch up with Tony. Tony informs us that Paul has stopped off at the café for some protein. He could have waited for cake at the finish (there's a private joke in there) We ride with Tony up the next climb to Deer Leap, through Ashridge and down Toms Hill into Aldbury. I'm sure I heard a little 'Parp; when he realized he needed his brakes on the fast gravely bend at the bottom - reminded me of a young Alex Zulle the way he went down there.
We parted company near Stocks Country Club and settled into a steady 2 up just to eat up the remaining few flat miles. All that was left were Slapton, Eaton Bray and Totternhoe and you ended up at the front door of event HQ.
It was a thoroughly good ride. The company was great during the ride and it was great to see club riders at the start and finish. The coffee and cake was also very welcome, though I didn't have any cake....why?
|Red and green should never be seen|
|Chairman &Tim on Bow Brickhill|
|Feeling full of beans on Bison Hill|